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How to Figure Out What Career to Choose

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When you choose a career, you are choosing work that you will likely become an expert in over time through education and experience. You will probably work in this career field for at least several years. Narrowing down and choosing a career path to follow is one of the most important decisions you can make. You should consider different factors before making a final decision about which career you want to pursue.

Make a list of things you like to do. This could range from skydiving to helping out at your local soup kitchen. Write down next to each activity why you like doing it. If you enjoy taking care of your nephew while his mom does some shopping once a week, write that down, and write down next to it that you like babysitting him because the little things he says always make you smile.

Talk to a career counselor. Career counselors often work in high schools, colleges and universities, and state workforce centers. They are trained to help you figure out a career path and a plan for achieving your goal of getting a job in your favorite career field. They are likely to ask you questions regarding your background, the skills you already possess, and what you liked or disliked about your jobs or volunteer positions in the past.

The University of Delaware's Career Services Center suggests that you also ask your friends and family what kinds of jobs they think you would be good at. This provides another set of viewpoints on where to start your career search.

Take a career aptitude/interest test. These are usually available in schools, as well as at career centers. They help you determine which careers you might be good at and which you might enjoy. They are not absolute. If your results say you should be a diesel mechanic and you hate the thought of being surrounded by diesel-engine noise all day, do not feel that being a diesel mechanic is the only career choice for you. However, if you enjoy putting things together with your hands and making them work, consider being a machinist making precision tools or a carpenter creating ornate furniture.

Volunteer or do an internship in the career field of your choice. You may be able to work alongside a person who has a position that you would like to have some day. Then again, you may find that you definitely do not enjoy certain aspects of the career field you originally chose. Gaining practical experience is a good way to see if you feel you would succeed in a particular career.